9 Best Reel Lawn Mowers of 2024

Best Overall

Remington RM3100 

Best Budget Buy

Greenworks RM1400

Best on Slopes

Earthwise 1715 

Best for Large Yards

Fiskars 362050-1002 

If you want a pristine lawn, check out the best reel mowers. They use scissor-like precision to make low, even cuts. These crisp cuts look amazing and improve the overall health of your lawn. Most models are manual lawn mowers, thus best suited for small, flat lawns. If you have a bigger space, don’t worry; we also found some reel mowers that work great on larger yards and slopes. 

To find the best reel mowers, we searched America’s leading lawn mower retailers—Home Depot, Lowe’s, Amazon, and Walmart. Each mower was ranked based on its cutting ability, durability, comfort, and cost. In this article, we reviewed the top nine reel mowers and wrote a handy buyer’s guide to help you find the model that best fits your needs. 

Our Top Picks

Top 7 Manual Reel Lawn Mowers
1. Remington RM3100 – Best Overall
2. Scotts 2010-20SG – First Runner-Up
3. Craftsman 1816-18CR – Second Runner-Up
4. Greenworks RM1400 – Best Budget Buy
5. Earthwise 1715 – Best on Slopes
6. Fiskars 362050-1002 – Best for Large Yards
7. Sun Joe MJ502M – Honorable Mention 
Top 2 Powered Reel Mowers
1. California Trimmer RL207H-GX120 – Best Gas Reel Mower
2. Scotts 2020-16S – Best Electric Reel Mower

Top 7 Manual Reel Lawn Mowers

1. Remington RM3100 – Best Overall

Best Overall Remington RM3100

Remington RM3100 

Effortlessly tackle your yard work with this eco-friendly lawnmower. It has an 18-inch cutting path, adjustable height, and 2-in-1 mulching feature.

The best manual reel mower is the Remington RM3100. It’s an averaged-priced push reel lawn mower that’s ergonomic, durable, and feature-packed. It makes crisp, clean cuts with a highly durable 18-inch alloy steel reel. You can choose between nine mowing heights that range from ¾ inch to 2 ½ inches.

It mulches grass clippings and holds them in the attached grass catcher. You can also remove the grass catcher so that the mulched lawn clippings fertilize your lawn as they fall out of the machine while you mow. The mower is sturdy, with an adjustable handle and comfy foam grip. As a result, you can quickly and comfortably cut and fertilize lawns that are ¼ acre or less.

Specifications

  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting heights: 0.75 – 2.5 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 9
  • Cutting width: 18 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 28.4 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityYes

Recommend Lawns

  • Max size: ¼ acre 
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Best grass types: Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Mulches
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✓ Adjustable handle
✓ Many cutting height positions 
✓ Cuts low
✓ Durable
✗ The grass catcher bag is small
✗ Not good for taller grass 

2. Scotts 2010-20SG – First Runner-Up

Scotts 2010-20SG

Scotts 2010-20SG

Scotts 20″ Reel Mower (2010-20SG) features grass-catcher bag, quick-snap height adjustment, cushioned handle, and dual wheel tracking for efficient manual lawn care.

The Scotts 2010-20SG five-blade reel mower is sturdy and easy to use. It has a wide 20-inch cutting deck, and you can effortlessly change the cutting height with its seven-position quick-snap height adjustment. It finely slices blades of grass as short as 1 inch and as tall as 3 inches. 

The manual push lawn mower is also comfortable to maneuver. Its dual wheels offer superb traction, and the cushioned grip is comfortable to hold. The mower also includes a grass catcher for simple cleanup.

Specifications

  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting heights: 1 – 3 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 7
  • Cutting width: 20 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Weight: 30 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max size: ¼ acre
  • Terrain: Flat, Slightly sloped
  • Best grass types: Centipede, Fine Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✓ Easy to maneuver
✓ Comfortable to push
✓ Mow height is easy to adjust
✗ Does’t work well on thick weeds

3. Craftsman 1816-18CR – Second Runner-Up

Craftsman 1816-18CR

Craftsman 1816-18CR

Craftsman manual push lawn mower with 16-inch width, adjustable height, padded grip, and grass catcher, paired with a DIY push blade sharpening kit containing grinding compound.

The Craftsman 1816-18CR 18-inch reel mower is lightweight and efficient. It has six cutting height positions that range from 1 to 3 inches and a heavy-duty steel blade that stays sharp for years. The mower makes crisp, even cuts to beautify your lawn and promote good grass health.  It also comes with a grass catcher and a padded cushion grip.

The 1816-18CR is a durable, high-quality grass cutter that’s easy to use on flat lawns under ¼

acre. Although it costs about 25% more than the average reel mower, homeowners get a lot of value out of it.

Specifications

  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting heights: 1 – 3 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 6
  • Cutting width: 18 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 24 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ¼ acre 
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Best grass types: Centipede, Fine Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✓ Lightweight
✓ High-quality blade
✓ Easy to push
✗ More expensive than most reel mowers
✗ The instructions aren’t always easy to follow

4. Greenworks RM1400 – Best Budget Buy

Best Budget Buy Greenworks RM1400

Greenworks RM1400

Compact 14-inch reel mower with 5-ball bearing steel blades, adjustable height (1.06 to 2 inches), and T-style handle for easy, eco-friendly cutting in small yards and townhomes.

The Greenworks RM1400 proves great things come in small packages. It’s compact, lightweight, and affordable; however, it’s highly capable. The mower has steel helical mower blades that quietly cut grass like butter. It mulches clippings into a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, which you can let fall on your lawn or catch in the rear bag. 

The 14-inch five-blade push reel lawn mower is also easy to maneuver. This small mower has excellent traction with 10-inch front and 6-inch rear wheels. Best of all, it costs significantly less than the average manual reel mower. It’s an excellent budget buy for homeowners with townhomes and small lawns. 

Specifications

  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting heights: 1.06 – 2 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 9
  • Cutting width: 14 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Weight: 23.9 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityYes

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ¼ acre
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Best grass types: Centipede, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Mulches
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✓ Affordable
✓ Easy to maneuver
✓ High-quality blades
✓ Many cutting height positions
✗ Narrow cutting width
✗ Small range of cutting heights

5. Earthwise 1715 – Best on Slopes

Best on Slopes Earthwise 1715

Earthwise 1715 

Earthwise Power Tools presents a versatile hand-push reel mower with a 16″ cutting width, adjustable height, and eco-friendly performance that matches gas mowers.

The Earthwise 1715 is an ergonomic grass-slicing machine. It’s compact and lightweight with a comfortable T-style handle and cushioned grips. The 10-inch composite wheels effortlessly glide across lawns and their radial tire treads are long lasting. It’s one of the few manual mowers that’s maneuverable on slopes.

The 1715 has a 16-inch cutting width and a seven-blade spider ball bearing reel. The heat-treated alloy steel blades are durable and sharp; they make crisp cuts that are sure to satisfy lawn care perfectionists. You can cut the grass as low as 1/2 inch or as high as 2 1/2 inches. It’s an average-priced manual mower with superb durability, maneuverability, and cutting power. 

Specifications

  • Blades: 7
  • Cutting height positions: 7
  • Cutting heights: .5 – 2.5 in.
  • Cutting width: 16 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 21.83 lb.
Grass CatcherNo
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ¼ acre
  • Terrain: Flat or sloped
  • Best grass types: Bentgrass, Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Lightweight
✓ Ergonomic
✓ Works on sloped yards
✓ Cuts grass low
✗ Can be difficult to adjust cutting height 

6. Fiskars 362050-1002 – Best for Large Yards

Best for Large Yards Fiskars 362050-1002 

Fiskars 362050-1002 

Elevate your yardcare with Fiskars’ cutting-edge tools: advanced cutting technology and an ergonomic weeder for eco-friendly maintenance.

The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower uses cutting-edge technology for fast, precise cuts. Its 18-inch InertiaDrive reel is twice as potent as a standard reel. The blades are durable and rarely need sharpening, and height adjustments are child’s play with its one-touch handlebar control. With a 4-inch max height, the 362050-1002 is the best manual mower for St. Augustinegrass.

The Fiskars reel mower’s inset wheels are easy to maneuver and allow the blade to cut along the entire mower width. It also has a reversible grass chute that lets you control the direction in which the clippings fall. The StaySharp mower quickly cuts thick patches of grass, making it the best manual reel mower for large yards. However, it’s also the most expensive manual reel mower on our list. 

Specifications

  • Blades: 4
  • Cutting heights: 1 – 4 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 4
  • Cutting width: 18 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Weight: 51.7 lb.
Grass CatcherNo
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: 1 acre 
  • Terrain: Flat, Uneven 
  • Best grass types: Buffalo, Centipede, Fine Fescue,  Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, St. Augustine, Tall Fescue, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Best for large yards
✓ Cuts tall grass
✓ Cuts thick grass
✓ Works on uneven terrain
✓ Easy to push
✓ Cuts through weeds 
✗ Expensive
✗ Few cutting height positions

7. Sun Joe MJ502M – Honorable Mention

Sun-Joe-MJ502M

Sun Joe MJ502M 

Mow small to medium-sized lawns effortlessly while reducing your carbon footprint with this lightweight Reel Mower.

The Sun Joe MJ502M is one of the best manual mowers for small to medium yards. It quickly covers a lot of ground with its 20-inch cutting width, and it’s easy to maneuver with its dual all-terrain wheels and comfy foam grip. As the mower glides over the grass, its durable five-blade steel reel cleanly slices the blades and catches the clippings in a large grass catcher.

The MJ502M has a foldable handle for easy storage. This mower is fairly priced, costing less than the typical reel mower. 

Specifications

  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting height: 1.2 – 2.4 in.
  • Cutting height positions: 9
  • Cutting width: 20 in.
  • Power type: Manual
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 30 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ½ acre
  • Terrain: Flat 
  • Best grass types: Centipede, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Good for medium yards
✓ Many cutting height adjustments
✓ Compact storage
✓ Includes grass catcher
✓ Affordable
✓ Many cutting height positions
✗ Narrow range of cutting heights

Top 2 Powered Reel Lawn Mowers

1. California Trimmer RL207H-GX120 – Best Gas Reel Mower

California Trimmer RL207H-GX120

California Trimmer RL207H-GX120

3.5 HP Honda engine, 20″ cutting width, 7-blade reel, 15 cutting heights, large catcher. 2-year unit warranty, 3-year engine warranty for residential use.

The best gas-powered mower with a reel is the California Trimmer RL207H-GX120. It’s self-propelled with a potent 3.5-horsepower Honda OHV engine. The chain-driven reel has seven heat-treated, high-carbon steel blades. These features let the mower make swift and clean cuts, quickly manicuring yards up to ½ acre. 

Its 9-inch, deep tread wheels get excellent traction without harming the grass, and the mower’s built strong with heavy-duty construction. It also comes with the following convenience features:

  • Hand lever clutch engagement
  • Easy access bedknife adjustment
  • Large-capacity grass catcher

It also includes a 32 oz. bottle of oil with every purchase. The RL207H-GX120 is a durable and efficient machine, but it costs a pretty penny.

Specifications

  • Blades: 7
  • Cutting positions: 7
  • Cutting width: 20 in.
  • Cutting height: 0.375 – 1.875 in.
  • Engine: 122 cc Honda GX120
  • Fuel tank capacity: 0.53 gal
  • Power type: Gas
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 144 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityNo

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ½ acre
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Best grass types: Bentgrass, Bermuda, Centipede

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Self-propelled
✓ Potent engine
✓ High-quality blades
✓ Durable construction
✓ Cuts low
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✗ Expensive

2. Scotts 2020-16S – Best Electric Reel Mower

Scotts 2020-16S

Scotts 2020-16S

Scotts 16″ brushless reel mower, 20V battery, modern design, adjustable height, and versatile operation; includes grass catcher and detachable handle for easy storage.

The best electric mower with a reel is the cordless Scotts 2020-16S. Its brushless motor runs on a 20-volt battery, providing efficient power without gas fumes. 

Its handy features include:

  • Comfy foam grip
  • Detachable handle
  • Durable and easy-to-maneuver polymer
  • Grass catcher
  • Fast battery charger
  • Detachable power cord – You can use it without the battery!

The American Lawn Mower Company makes this model, and they have over 125 years of experience designing quality reel mowers. They merged with the Great States Corporation in 1936 and are currently the leading manufacturer of reel mowers. 

Specifications

  • Battery: 20-Volt 2.0Ah
  • Blades: 5
  • Cutting positions: 5
  • Cutting width: 16 in.
  • Cutting height: 1.54 – 2.8 in.
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Power type: Cordless electric
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 37 lb.
Grass CatcherYes
Mulching CapabilityNo
Battery includedYes
Charger includedYes

Recommend Lawns

  • Max Size: ¼ acre
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Best grass types: Fine Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Ryegrass, Zoysia

Pros and Cons

What We LikedWhat We Didn’t Like
✓ Good blades
✓ Comfortable to push
✓ Includes a grass catcher
✓ Folds for easy storage
✓ Can be used without the battery
✗ Costs a lot more than manual models
✗ Assembly instructions aren’t easy to follow

Buyer’s Guide

To select the best reel mower for your lawn and budget, please consider the following:

Yard Size

Most reel lawn mowers are manually powered, so they run off your sweat and elbow grease rather than a motor. When buying a reel lawn mower, it’s essential to consider the effort it will take to mow your lawn.

Please consider your yard size when shopping for a reel mower:

  • Cutting width: A wider cutting width means you can get the job done quicker. Most reel mowers are 14 to 18 inches wide and are recommended for yards up to one-quarter acre. However, some 18 to 20-inch reel mowers are suitable for lawns as large as half an acre
  • Ergonomics: The larger your yard, the more time you spend mowing; thus, the more critical comfort features become.
  • Durability: The larger your lawn, the quicker you wear out your lawn mower. Features like heavy-duty composite wheels and heat-treated alloy steel blades help your reel mower withstand the test of time. Some reel mowers rarely need blade sharpening. Also, consider the warranty length; most models have a one to three-year warranty. 
  • Power type: You have to hand-push manual mowers, so they are best for lawns under ¼ acre. It’s less hassle to mow more than ¼ acre with electric or gas-powered reel mowers, but they are much more expensive and less eco-friendly than manual models. Self-propelled lawn mowers are among the best mowers for large yards.

Do you have a larger lawn? Homeowners with yards over ½ acre typically prefer electric or gas-powered rotary mowers. The best gas mowers are great for yards of one-quarter to five acres, and some of the best battery mowers can handle yards as large as one acre. 

Grass Type

The type of grass in your yard should influence your choice of mowers.

Best Grass Types for Reel Mowers

Reel mowers work best on coarse, thick grass such as the following warm-season grasses:

  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia 
  • Bermuda
  • Buffalo

Because a reel mower cuts low, they are also handy for grass types that need to be cut short, such as bentgrass. 

Ideal Mow Height

Reel mowers differ in the range of their adjustable cutting height, so be sure to select a model that’s capable of properly mowing your grass. The table below shows the ideal mowing height for popular grass types.

Grass TypeIdeal Mow Height (inches)
Bahiagrass3 – 4
Bentgrass0.25 – 1
Bermudagrass0.5 – 1.5
Buffalograss2 – 4 
Centipedegrass1 – 2
Fine Fescue1 – 3
Kentucky Bluegrass2 – 3
Perennial Ryegrass1 – 3
St. Augustinegrass2 – 4 
Tall Fescue2 – 4
Zoysiagrass1 – 2.5

Comfort

These features make a reel mower more comfortable:

  • Cushioned grips
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth rear wheels

Capabilities

The best reel lawn mower for you depends on what you need. Here are some capabilities to consider:

  • Mowing low: Reel mowers with more blades typically have a lower minimum cutting height.
  • Mowing high: Reel mowers with fewer blades usually have a higher maximum cutting height.
  • Bagging clippings: Mowers with a grass catcher catch the grass clippings, which is helpful if you want them off the lawn. However, pay attention to the size of the bag. Bigger bags are emptied less often but are more challenging to maneuver. 
  • Maneuverability: If you have a sloped yard, you want an agile mower that isn’t too hard to push uphill. 

Prices

The cost of a lawn mower varies by mower type, and reel mowers are typically the least expensive. Most reel mowers cost $95 to $170, but prices vary depending on features, size, and cutting capabilities.

If you’re shopping for a lawn mower on a budget, see our top picks for the best lawn mowers under $200.

Cutting Width

Wider reel mowers tend to cost more, as shown in the table below.

Cutting Width (inches)Average Price
14 $100
16 $135
18$140

Features

Reel mowers with the features shown in the table below tend to cost more than average.

FeatureAverage Price
Adjustable handlebar$140
Battery-powered$300
Gas-powered$1,500
Grass catcher$175
Many cutting height adjustments (5+)$150
Mulches clippings$130

Maintenance 

Manual reel mowers are low-maintenance and never need an oil change. They only require the following:

  • Sharpening: You need a sharpening kit to ensure cuts are crisp.
  • Lubricating: Prevent blades from rusting by lubricating them with WD-40 or another light oil.
  • Cleaning: For premium performance, clean your reel mower after each use.

FAQ About Reel Lawn Mowers

1. What is the difference between a reel mower and a rotary mower?

Rotary mowers and reel mowers differ in their power source and blade action. Rotary mowers have spinning blades and are typically corded-electric, battery-powered, or gas-powered units.  In contrast, reel mowers cut grass like scissors and are usually manually powered. 

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a reel mower?

The advantages of using a reel lawn mower include the following:

  • Precise Cut: Reels cut grass more evenly than rotary blades.
  • Short Grass: Reel mowers are better at cutting short grass than rotary mowers.
  • Eco-Friendly: Manual reel mowers don’t run on gas or lithium and emit zero emissions.
  • Low Cost: Reel mowers are the most affordable type of lawn mower.
  • Healthy Lawn: The crisp cuts improve grass’s immunity to pests and diseases improving overall lawn health.

But before choosing a reel mower, also consider its disadvantages:

  • Effort: A manual mower uses a lot of your energy.
  • Time: It takes longer to mow the lawn with a reel mower.
  • Long Grass: Reel mowers can’t cut tall grass as well as rotary mowers.
  • Yard Debris: Reel mowers tend to get stuck on rocks and twigs.

3. What is the best lawn care equipment for homeowners on a tight budget?

We found the best budget-friendly DIY lawn care tools

  • Leaf Blowers: The best leaf blowers make fall cleanups a cinch, and the Black+Decker BEBL750 is the best budget blower for yards under ¼ acre. If you have a larger yard, the Troy-Bilt TB27BH is the best gas-powered blower for giving you bang for your buck. 
  • String Trimmers: The best string trimmers help homeowners maintain a pristine lawn. Corded electric string trimmers are the most budget-friendly, and we like the Black+Decker BESTA510 and Toro 51480. However, the cordless PowerSmart PS76110A is also an excellent budget buy.
  • Fertilizer Spreaders: The best fertilizer spreaders for tight budgets are handheld models. We love the Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader and the Stalwart 82-YJ487.

Hire a Lawn Care Pro Instead

Although most reel mowers have an affordable price tag when calculating cost, it’s also essential to factor in the cost of your time. Furthermore, even homeowners with small lawns break a sweat when mowing in the sweltering sun. Consider hiring a local lawn care pro to get a pristine lawn without the work.

LawnStarter connects you with local pros who are qualified and insured. You can get a free online quote for over 30 outdoor services, including lawn mowing, landscaping, and bush trimming. Our services are affordable and easy to manage with our app. 

LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other retailer affiliate programs. LawnStarter may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Michelle Selzer

Michelle Selzer

Michelle Selzer is a witty writer with a passion for plants and outdoor power tools. When she's not out in the yard, Michelle enjoys fishing, hunting, and chasing waterfalls.